Kenya nets 5000 sets from Kasparov (KCF)

Kenya Chess Association President Githinji Hinga taking an inventory of the 5000 sets and board received from the Kasparov Chess Foundation for Africa.

Kasparov Chess Foundation (KCF) has been a welcome presence on the continent of Africa in the past few years. After losing a bitter battle for FIDE President, former world champion Garry Kasparov noted that one thing he had discovered during the campaign was Africa. He has continued to make the vast continent one of his main initiatives in chess development.

Recently it was reported on Kasparov Chess Foundation website that 5000 chess sets and boards had cleared customs after inspections back in June 2014. Now come the huge hast of distribution around the country. Githinji Hinga, told The Chess Drum that they havevisited over 40 schools around the country and donated 150+ sets to the schools.

KCF posted on its site the following message…

We wish Chess Kenya well with the distribution of the equipment throughout the country as we know it will make a massive difference to the development of the game throughout all their provinces!

The Chess Drum chatted with President Hinga about the challenges in Kenya to promote chess and Africa in general. Hinga mentioned the deep challenges facing African federations in terms of equipment and merchandise such as clocks. He states that the average chess set in Kenya and East Africa may cost Kshs2500 (US$30)!!

“That is if you are lucky that it is in stock. Let us not mention clocks. So with that price, it makes Chess an elite game, totally wrong considering how inexpensive chess is and should be.”

The Kenyan chess revolution begins!

When the shipment initially arrived there was the matter of clearing customs and this proved to be problematic. After it was thought that the import duties could be waived, the Kenyan Ministry allocated Kshs1.1M (US$12,000) to clear the merchandise.

“We are very thankful to the government particularly the Cabinet Secretary Dr. Hassan Wario, the Commissioner of Sport Mr Gordon Oluoch and the National Talent Academy CEO Mr. Douglas Ratemo for enabling us to clear the consignment.”

After these matters were cleared and the mountain of boxes were then released, they were transported and secured. Then the hard task would be the federation’s to distribute them nationwide. Thus far, the Kenyan Chess Federation has been very busy. The Chess Drum chatted with President Hinga today to find out where the initiative has gone since receiving the equipment.

So far we have visited over 40 schools around the country and donated 150+ sets to the schools. What was achieved in the report was a result of passion of my team, donations from well-wishers. We only hope to be able to reach out to as many schools.

Thanks to Kasparov Chess Foundation Africa, its founder Garry Kasparov, we shall be able to reach out to all corners of the country and distribute the boards to 1000 schools. We had the constraint of equipment and of course funds… we did what we could.

Photos from Kasparov Chess Foundation (Facebook).

Read Kenya’s Chess-in-Schools initiative!
(PDF format -Adobe Acrobat needed)


  1. Wonderful!, since he couldn’t find least one black kid to include in his ” Young Stars program in the U. S. ” let’s hope that he will find 1 in Africa. 5000 sets is awesome, but grooming the special talent is just as important.

  2. President of Chess Kenya, Mr Githinji Hinga attended the launch of the Kenya Chess in Schools initiative in conjunction with the Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts, the Kenya Academy of Sports, and the County Sports Ministries. The event was held on January 23rd 2015 at the Safaricom Kasarani International Stadium.

    In attendance were the Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Culture and Arts, the Secretary of Sports, the CEO of the Kenya Academy of Sports, the CEO of the National Talent Academy, and various County Sports ministers.

    Chess Kenya used the opportunity to explain how the 5000 chess boards donated by the Kasparov Chess Foundation Africa will be distributed around the country. Before distributing, the federation intends to ensure that each county creates capacity and the necessary structures for efficiency and accountability. Chess Kenya also intends to create a database driven website to capture the names of the schools and individuals prior to distributing the boards around March or April 2015.

    In the picture below are the County Minister of Sport Embu County – Hon. Emily Njuki who was handed a Chess Board by the Cabinet Secretary for Sports, Culture and the Arts Dr. Hassan Wario. Looking on are Githinji Hinga and Kenya Academy of Sports CEO Mr. Karinga and CEO of National Youth Talent Academy Mr. Douglas Ratemo. A short video from the launch function is also available on youtube at

  3. There is also a need for chess sets in areas where people cant afford the sets such as in slums. There is great talent and potential that should be exploited. Thiswill help to keep youth out of crime. Most of the youth in the slums cant afford these sets, providing them with a few sets will popularize the sport and see to it that otherwise wasted talents would be fully exploited. Please consider this.

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